, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11 – Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri has formally written to Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo demanding an apology for defamation, after linking him to an assassination plot targeting Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Through Nyaberi and Company Advocates, Ongeri wants Midiwo to apologise within seven days or face legal action.
“We are instructed to demand from you that you forthwith retract your allegations,” the demand letter dated April 11 says.
Midiwo was told that the apology must be presented to Ongeri, published in local newspapers and broadcast in television stations that carried the defamatory remarks.
The Foreign Affairs Minister wants Midiwo to unequivocally acknowledge defaming him “outrightly and or by innuendo, so that we can discuss quantum to purge the defamatory statement.”
“Unless you comply with the foregoing demands within seven days of the date hereof, we have firm instructions to file a suit against you to your own detriment and to ameliorate our client’s reputation which you have irredeemably tarnished,” Ongeri’s lawyers said in the demand letter.
Ongeri said his reputation had been damaged beyond repair due to Midiwo’s remarks.
When Midiwo appeared before detectives at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Tuesday, he told journalists he would not apologise to the minister and instead dared him to make good his threat to sue him.
“I am telling Ongeri let us meet in court… he is the one implying that I have implicated him. I only asked him to clarify an issue. He is the one now trying to invite himself to the scheme I alleged about,” Midiwo charged.
Ongeri accused Midiwo of making defamatory remarks against him in Bondo last Saturday when he attended the funeral of Awuor Lea Gondi.
Ongeri’s demand letter accuses Midiwo of having claimed that he attended a meeting at the Serena hotel “alongside a few other people to plan on the assassination of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.”
“Our client takes great exceptional umbrage at the imputation and insinuation that he is a murderer,” Ongeri’s lawyer said.
Ongeri has denied Midiwo’s assertions and terms them as falsehoods aimed at seeking what he terms “cheap mercy and favour from the public.”
His lawyers said the remarks were “reckless and malicious, without jurisdiction or lawful excuse, it is to discredit Ongeri and exposes him to ridicule, contempt and hatred.”
“It has lowered our client’s reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society,” the lawyers said.
Police have indicated they are seeking to question the Foreign Affairs Minister over the allegations levelled against him.
However, CID detectives investigating the matter said they had not secured a date with the minister to record a statement from him over claims made by the Gem MP.
CID officers handling the case said they were not able to meet Ongeri on Wednesday morning because he had a tight schedule.
Ongeri spent the better part of Wednesday appearing before the parliamentary committee on Defence and Foreign Relations which is probing an alleged dossier linking Britain to a plot to have President Mwai Kibaki indicted at the International Criminal Court.